Budget goals mustn't control health needsI recently went...

the Forum

July 18, 1995

Budget goals mustn't control health needs

I recently went to Washington to meet with Sen. Paul Sarbanes and Sen. Barbara Mikulski. I wanted to discuss my concerns about the Medicare budget debate.

The staffs for both senators were polite and attentive to my point of view. I am glad to have participated in our democratic system of government.

One thing I noticed was a recurring theme that I found a bit distressing. Legislators have a budget goal to reach, and this goal is the engine driving the decision-making process, regardless of impact.

In other words, they understood that instituting things such as additional co-payments on Medicare recipients might -- in addition to making preventive and cost effective procedures such as laboratory testing too expensive for some people to afford -- also put some health care providers out of business.

They agree this is a problem, but they can count the money saved toward reaching the budget goal.

I agree, balancing the budget is the right thing to do. But when I left Washington I couldn't get one thought out of my head.

Decisions affecting our entire nation's health are being made from a standpoint of bottom-line cost without considering quality or access to vital health care services.

After meeting with the senators, I am hoping that our elected representatives will have what it takes to step off the budget bullet train and consider the long-term consequences of short-term, budget-driven decisions.

teven A. Lobel

Baltimore

City's fate

Baltimore City should be the heart of one of the great metropolitan areas of this country. Our proximity to the nation's capital, our harbor and the diversity of our population have all of the requirements for a thriving metropolis.

Instead, we have a decaying city; its tax base eroding; the confidence of its business community destroyed and an under-privileged majority deprived of a decent education and a sense of security.

The lack of leadership by the mayor of Baltimore and his supposed advisers is astounding.

Those of us who loved the city are dismayed by this lack of leadership, the politically inspired racial polarization and the overt hostility to the business community.

The destructiveness of the current leadership of this community has resulted in the mass exodus of men and women of all races who desire a prosperous and safe environment for their children and their businesses.

Black or white, gentile or Jewish, men and women of all persuasions see a self-serving, greedy group of politicians who seem unable, despite their education and background, to grasp and fulfill the needs of the people they were elected to serve.

It is obvious that the special interests of the unelected advisers have come to the forefront: the racism of Larry Gibson and the greed of Ron Shapiro.

It is time for the citizens of Baltimore to find a new leader, unencumbered by obligations of past deeds to bring back the heart of the city, to make Baltimore the proud city which it once was.

Its harbor, once a center of international trade, its affluent merchants and its diverse ethnic community, hard-working and successful individuals creating a community known throughout the country for polished white steps, its panama hats, its garment industry, all of these are in the past.

The future lies in biotechnology, computer services and broad-based industry supported by a working community with good schools, safe neighborhoods and low taxes.

Stephen Weinstein

Lutherville

Cruel violence

I live in Baltimore City. I am seven years old. My cat got shot by a BB gun. He got hit so badly, he died.

It makes me really sad. I want people to know it's not a joke.

It is against the law for people to shoot animals with BB guns or shotguns. He died on June 7.

Owen D. C. Baron

Baltimore

Poe House

I recently visited Baltimore and enjoyed seeing the Inner Harbor, the Baltimore Museum of Art and other sites. However, I was shocked by the poor condition of the area surrounding the Edgar Allen Poe House. This author was one of this country's finest writers. He is revered in France but forgotten at home.

I understand from the Poe House curator that the house recently has undergone renovations. Nevertheless, we were totally unable to view the exterior of the house because we were threatened by nearby residents, some of whom shook baseball bats at us.

This was an unforgettable disappointment, and one that should shame your city.

nTC I hope one day to return to Poe's house and actually see it. That is, if the city of Baltimore chooses to preserve it as it should. It would be a criminal waste to allow such a landmark to decay.

Marion Blackburn

Greenville, N.C.

What will happen to the tenth graders?

I write to bring to your attention, and request that some publicity be given to the decision made by the superintendent of the Baltimore City Public Schools to discontinue the licensed practical nursing (LPN) program at the Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School.

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